What was once a misunderstood plant is now a catalyst for climate change, economic change and much more. In addition to being a hemp expert, I’m also the co-founder of First Crop, a public benefit company that aids farmers in planting their first legal hemp crop in 80 years.

Six years ago, hemp having the chance to be legal was literally just a few words on a piece of paper in front of a Rules Committee in the United States Congress, and since then, the U.S. has gone from zero to being the third largest hemp producer in the world under our research pilot program. It just shows the ability of Americans and entrepreneurs to understand and grasp new big ideas.

Industrial hemp is the next new, big idea. Whether it’s just for CBD oil—which will be a large part of our product offerings—or all of the other things that it’s going to offer. This will include fiber, food, hemp proteins, animal feed, animal bedding, bioplastics and the ability to regenerate soil and the ability to draw carbon out of the atmosphere at rates that can exceed general mature forests. This plant has a little bit of something for everybody, and its return couldn’t be more timely, given the challenges we have from the climate perspective, the rule development perspective and the supply chain perspective for better products.

Hemp is going to give these traditional farmers an opportunity to look at hemp as a legitimate third crop. It’s a crop that can be used in their rotations and may well displace soybean acres. If you think of the hemp crop as a protein and oil crop, then it basically is the same thing as the soybean, with the added bonus of the absorption of CO2 during its growing cycle. Additionally, the hemp crop is the value of high-production CBD oil, which can be grown on smaller acreage.

AMA about hemp, CBD, farming with hemp, hemp policy, etc.

It's me: https://imgur.com/a/ZjifrJZ

Update: Logging off for now for dinner, hope to be able to log back on a bit later!

Comments: 664 • Responses: 61  • Date: 

jachinboazicus282 karma

My family has recently been approached by a large company to partner in growing hemp on our family land. The net figures they are telling us is ~$20K/acre. We provide the land and labor, they provide the certified seed and processing post-harvest. What reservations do you have about the booming hemp growing industry, and what are some red flags around these kinds of operations and partnerships?

SaintZvlkx327 karma

Not OP obviously, but I'm growing hemp on the family farm this year & we're working with other farmers in the area, some of whom have partnered and some of whom have struck similar deals. Going to throw some things out in no particular order.

Crops require expertise to succeed- you can get lucky or be just competent enough to work it out a few times, but relatively minor mistakes or oversights can compound or exponentially increase risk. Your other post indicates you're a farmer so I'm sure you understand, but from my limited experience with hemp the variability (legal and weather-based) is a lot higher than most of the crops I've grown If your family doesn't have experience with hemp or cannabis you want to shoot for a realistic acreage to plant (or go for a test year) you need the equipment to till and maintain the soil, probably a transplanter to put the plants in the ground (~1k per acre how the hell did I get my first number), which you may or may not have depending on what you're growing right now. You need to know what nutrients hemp likes and dislikes, how those match up to your soil- stuff I'm sure you're aware of if it's being farmed. Hemp is also extremely sensitive to water- it likes a fair amount but overload it and it can get stressed and go hot (over the THC percentage), so you need very good drainage and preferably no wet spots. This also means that if you're in a dry climate overhead irrigation has a limited time window in which it is safe and effective to use. If your crop goes hot or is too stressed by weather you could have a drastically reduced yield to no yield at all. You also need the infrastructure and labor pool to deal with exigent circumstances- if your crop is almost ready to harvest but it's going to rain for a week straight, it needs to be harvested before the rain starts or you will lose 100% of the crop to mold. This means you need the labor and machinery for harvest, and a space to store it if need be- and it's going to take up a LOT of space, and while still on the plant it can't be packed in tight due to fire risk, nor can it be a damp space as mold will set in. All of this means, as I said, you need a good labor pool, especially as without very expensive equipment hemp is a labor-intensive crop to harvest. Also keep in mind that if you're growing for oil you can't be within a few miles someone growing for any product that uses male plants.

As for the partnership itself, I won't say they're all bad but I have concerns about the partnerships I've seen thus far. Anyone approaching people who aren't farmers needs to have a significant logistics and supply chain to support them, as well as a great deal of knowledge and resources to ensure they succeed- and almost no one I've seen thus far is offering that- it's a new industry and in many ways an unprecedented crop. This is a gold rush, everyone wants to get in and I suspect at least 50% of the hemp that is getting planted in our state is going to fail this year. And unlike the gold rush, we're not talking about a resource with a fairly static value- no one knows what the price of hemp (biomass or processed products) is going to be in the near future, and it's likely going to drop in price significantly due to the exponential growth of the industry. The income per acre is also wildly different based on product- if you can get a guaranteed sale at 20k per acre you're looking at selling the biomass to a processor- and it's entirely possible for half your crop or less a processor can turn it that same acreage into a product that will triple or quadruple that income per acre- or the floor could fall from under either market due to legality, new scientific research, a glut of product, etc. There is no guarantee here, either through a partnership or selling it on your own.

Second, the simple fact is I haven't seen a partnership with terms I would take on. Earlier my family was offered a partnership at 60/40 of the sale price of the end product (or the same of the end product itself) in exchange for the seedlings, growing expertise, finding a buyer for the end product & transporting it to them, and PR work. Not a bad deal and the people who made the offer had succeeded in the past, but that's a partnership for work that we could do in-house- and as it turned out once we saw their starts and expertise, they had experience in business and really good genetics, but didn't have practical farm experience and made a lot of avoidable mistakes. Add to that the fact that they're going from a few dozen acres last year to hundreds this year and I have significant doubts about the ability of anyone who doesn't have a HUGE established logistics system to manage the transportation and safe storage of a bulky crop that will come in all at the same time. You also don't know the genetics you're planting- you can find out, but you have a lot less control, and you don't know how well the plants germinated. You're relying on a lot of human external factors on top of the external factors of the weather and market- so it comes down to whether or not you can trust the people you're working with, and whether you think the services they're offering are worth their cut to not learn how to do yourself.

jachinboazicus109 karma

Great response, much appreciated. Sounds like you've had a similar experience. Your '50% of what's planted will fail' makes sense. Also, the partnership you describe almost exactly matches the discussions that we've had.

As to scaling and learning the crop, I completely understand. We're are talking with starting with ~15 acres, and scaling from there.

My thought is that investing ~$10K (drip systems, labor, etc) in a potential 'ground floor' industry is a wise move since that figure is negligible.

Also, the idea of growing hemp in the land of Mormons is just too good not to do.

mrhemp_mb19 karma

My standard response is always 'start small'. If you already control the land, and have the options of building a network of farmers to give you a market presence you can/will be a long-term player. We've invested in a 10-acre drip system this year to prove out the water-saving aspects of the plant and will have data by Fall. In our case (and for many others) we're particularly interested in how we can boost our bottom lines and save water (a precious resource in the Rockies).

mrhemp_mb21 karma

Thank you for that thorough response; you're spot on. Also, the Federal Disaster Relief Bill just passed has a provision mandating federal crop insurance by 2020; it's not exactly clear just how that's going to happen or what it's going to look like (it may be a Whole Farm product). That product will likely require certified seed and won't cover a crop busting the 0.3 threshold and be classified as 'hot' (would be destroyed).


You need a good lawyer to go over the contract for starters.

mrhemp_mb21 karma

Never accept their contract as gospel. It's written by their lawyers to protect their interests. The contract is critical (and still isn't an unbreachable wall under certain circumstances).

mrhemp_mb30 karma

Great question. There are a lot of interests seeking partnership opportunities in this space today. Prices are still good although we've seen a lot of price compression over the last three years. I'd first say, "know your partner", and further, "good legal agreements make the best partnerships". It's a (green) gold rush right now and although I wouldn't paint the entire community as suspect, suspects exist. Be careful. In Colorado we're in our sixth-year of growing and we've seen a lot of good and bad. I think this is a generational opportunity for us to create new wealth and opportunities for in rural America. My frustration is that, because of the conservative nature of farmers, we've been painfully slow coming to this table. Coming from a small, rural community myself I want to maximize the wealth being trapped locally. That's why I've joined forces with like-minded souls who feel the same and we've created First Crop to accomplish just that. We should be asking "who will be the equivalent of Ocean Spray in the hemp space? The next Sunkist? How do we make sure we as landowners and entrepreneurs make the maximum, long-term impact on our family and community? If we think long-term, be smart with our partnerships, we can do this.

Endoxa23 karma

It costs me 20K to develop a fresh acre, it makes 100K profit. If I Pre-contract it for $3.50 a CBD point; a 14% CBD strain will get you about 49-50 bucks per lb, if you are getting the minimum of 1 lb plants (4 x 6 layout 1816 plants per ac) you are going to make 100K per acre profit. 20K per acre for what you are doing is really damn low no offense and just FYI your labor is the most expensive part of growing the hemp! I'd tell those guys to pound sand.

jachinboazicus13 karma

If I Pre-contract it for $3.50 a CBD point;

They're quoting the same prices, so sounds like you figures are sound.

Beyond acquiring seed and processing and selling, $20K/acre is INSANE compared to our alfalfa figures. That said, I hear your point, but seems like something we'd learn to do over few (or more) years, and then go the route you describe.

mrhemp_mb11 karma

Today's prices, even with the compression we've seen, are indeed still insane when compared to our traditional crops. It's seductive and often the best decision. If you're in an area where your neighboring farmers control significant acreage I wouldn't tie myself down with any one group for too long.

skittlesmcgee339 karma

My buddy's family did this and it worked out well for them. What percentage are they asking for?

jachinboazicus7 karma

I'm in UT. Curious to hear where your buddy's land is. What were they farming previous to hemp? We have been growing alfalfa on the land for generations.

Current contract is 70/30.

skittlesmcgee337 karma

Colorado. It's been "legal" in CO for a little while. They were growing Kale before (still do). It's a good question though. I've heard hemp doesn't grow well after soy beans. Not sure about alfalfa.

His contract was 60/40 so looks like you're getting a better deal! There's a good amount of risk involved though since it's such a new crop. Can't even use any pesticides yet.

mrhemp_mb6 karma

We have followed corn and alfalfa but not soybeans. We've had good luck following those two crops. I have a friend in MN who is interceding with soybeans in one field and alfalfa in the other. As someone who likes to put his hands in the dirt I'm fascinated by these two experiments. Stand by! (I have some pictures - I'll try to post them later).

Beenhamean141 karma

I've read that hemp processors are having shipments seized by police and sending drivers to jail because hemp tests positive for THC in field tests, what's the best plan for keeping that from happening?

mrhemp_mb116 karma

The new rules being issued by USDA this fall should clarify the (current) problems of interstate shipping/commerce. Part of the glitch in the 2019 crop is still operating under the 2014 law which had no embedded safeguards for transportation. We were lucky enough in the 2014-1018 time frame that as each Continuing Resolution for the budget was passed there were riders protecting that movement. So now we're in 2019, under an old law that doesn't contain the provision, and a 2018 law that isn't fully implemented. It is a glitch but one that will soon be remedied. Oklahoma and Idaho seem to be the biggest problems right now.

cpohagan77 karma

Technical question about the statute.

Why is .3% THC content the limit? That number seems quite arbitrary and given the fluctuation of THC content throughout the growing process quite hard to hit, which would in my opinion lead to someone's entire crop having to he disposed of.

mrhemp_mb78 karma

It's a global standard set long ago and while they had some weak justification for it, I'd argue its more 'arbitrary'. I believe over time, as politicians, bureaucrats and law enforcement get comfortable with the crop with its new designation (agricultural) we can have a more science-based, grown-up conversation about limits.

User24601LaysItOut4U-5 karma

That's what Congress agreed on.

mrhemp_mb37 karma

That comes from a global standard set long, long ago. For now it will remain and if we want to have access to global markets we’ll need to be in alignment. There are several solid, scientific arguments why that arbitrary number should be revisited in the future.

_EventHorizon_1 karma

A better standard you would presumably agree is the ICH Q3B standard for related substances which would be more like 0.1%.

mrhemp_mb1 karma

We have to look at this issue through both a science and public policy lens. As bizarre as the events that put the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act in place, followed by Nixon's scheduling in 1970, we've just peeled back over eight decades of faulty public policy. It's going to take a while to get agencies and politicians comfortable. I'm convinced that ultimately science-based arguments will prevail and we should have this very important conversation. As much as I'd like to say "this should never have been..." that's water under the bridge and we have to deal with the realities of 'now'.

Bobby-Cspine-Bot28 karma

Are you optimistic for hemp taking a front seat to trees being used for many of the textiles we cut them down for today? It being as replenishable as it is (grows like weeds) makes me very upset that more action hasn’t been taken to have had this done by now.

mrhemp_mb38 karma

Yes I am. I believe we can reclaim leadership in the global natural fibers and industry right here in the US. Consumer markets are demanding just this kind of product!

Darth_Cody27 karma

Do you think the 2014 Farm Bill has or will have a lasting impact on the federal legalization of recreational marijuana?

mrhemp_mb42 karma

The 2014 bill (which I authored) achieved its intended goal of opening the door and demonstrating all this plant is capable of giving us. Generally speaking I think it's had a positive effect on the global conversations around the cannabis plant.

Sean53889824 karma

Do you consider CBD a drug or a supplement? The FDA still lists CBD as an experimental drug and this is why they are trying to enforce regulation.

mrhemp_mb47 karma

It’s an extraction from one of the oldest plants known to mankind. I consider it a supplement necessary for our well-being (nourishing our endocannabinoid system)

fromRonnie18 karma

Did you talk with politicians at the federal level before it was legal, and if so, based on your interactions with the politicians, did it seem that it was complicated to them, or other factors seemed to hinder the issue?

mrhemp_mb25 karma

Yes. In addition to being the founding chair of the National Hemp Association I authored the 2014 language and Have spent a considerable amount of time with politicians at the state and local levels. Honestly the vast majority of them, once they understood the history of prohibition and the opportunity for rural America and conscious consumers they were on board.

MattyHawk14 karma

When will the payment processing industry catch up with the recent legislation? I have some friends in the CBD industry that continue to get dropped by credit card processors with no warning. I guess they are too scared that hemp-derived CBD products are too similar to THC products. Any thoughts?

mrhemp_mb20 karma

I've spent a lot of time on this issue over the last six weeks. Legally speaking hemp was descheduled on December 20, 2018, which ended the conflict with banks/auditors (in theory). Unfortunately it's taking a lot of time to educate the various departments about the new status of the crop. I'm confident that by 2020 this will be sorted out; in the meantime we're going to have to grin-and-bear it. In Colorado we have banks actively seeking hemp customers but we are now planting our sixth crop so the community has become comfortable with the industry.

CrystalPlatypus13 karma

Hi Mr Hemp,

I read in Jack Herer's book that the original draft of the US Constitution was written on hemp paper, as hemp paper was one of the primary instruments of American independence from the British, but I haven't been able to find much info on this particular aspect. Any idea if it's true or not??

mrhemp_mb20 karma

That is (mostly) true. The drafts were written on hemp paper but the final products were parchment. Jack's book is a must-read for everybody interested in this plant. RIP Mr. Herer

ColdDesert776 karma

Why are you, a lobbyist, writing legislation?

mrhemp_mb2 karma

I got interested in this plant 19 years ago sitting around a campfire in Zimbabwe. That night an Australian couple visiting us shared the story of farmers in India who were being forced to stop growing hemp (after generations of doing so) and move to GMO cotton as a result of new federal policy there. As a result there were scores of Indian farmers committing suicide (growing cotton was bankrupting them) and many of them were committing the act by drinking the pesticides /herbicides they were being forced to use for the first time ever. Raised Catholic, I had a strong bent for social justice - so I started this journey for that reason. In parallel, our CO farm (which had never grown hemp, we were too far west before the prohibition was put in place) needed alternatives for our cropping plan. We are dependent on the Ogallala Aquifer and our water supply was diminishing rapidly. I wanted something that was environmentally benign, used less water and offered an opportunity for value-added agriculture. This plant ticked off all three boxes. The journey began - and nineteen years later I can say (almost) Mission Accomplished.

ColdDesert775 karma

I get that hemp is more ecological than its alternatives. I'm on board there. Where I'm not on board, and what you didn't address, is the fact that you (a lobbyist) are writing legislation. That's what troubles me.

mrhemp_mb2 karma

I'm not a lobbyist. I am a farmer-advocate who cares deeply about getting public policy on this issue right so that rural America can benefit from the legalization of the plant.

stoli80pr6 karma

A couple friends and I have put together a plan for a CBD hemp farm. I have experience in growing medical marijuana, another friend has 40+ years of farming/agricultural industry experience and a Master's degree in the field, and the last friend will be helping us to manage it all. We are having trouble finding a serious investor. Any advice on where to find serious investors?

mrhemp_mb3 karma

That's a great question and your key word is 'serious'. From experience many of the farms growing in Colorado today started small and grew 'organically'(and have largely been able to maintain the integrity of their vision); there are others who went 'all in', got an investor and took off running on day one. Those farms have had mixed results. At First Crop we're aggregating farmers like yourself into a public benefit corporation to give them a market presence. Happy to talk to you about that. What state are you located?

ExtractWellness5 karma

The 2018 Farm Bill de-scheduled and broke out hemp from the legal term "cannabis." Since then, it seems like things have been, well, kind of slow in terms of acceptance by agencies and major corporations.

What are your predictions for policy change specifically from the FDA and banking industry as time goes on?

mrhemp_mb5 karma

I believe all of the banking issue will be resolved by January, 2020. The FDA answer is more like 'it depends'. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on Congress to resolve this issue; there is some potentially-troubling language in the House Ag Approps bill that may push us down a traditional 3-5 years research path. My personal opinion is that it won't be the 3-5 year option given the political pressure. Fingers crossed.

icanhasreclaims5 karma

What would you recommend for acreage on a small farm? I have 20 acres in NW Florida that is zoned agriculture. We should be able to acquire permits starting in October 2019. I've got about 10 years of prior experience in growing big cannabis plants high in THC, but I imagine these crop permits in Florida are going to allow a larger number of plants to be grown. We won't know until the department finalizes the language for regulations.

Also, how many seeds would I need for 5 acres?


mrhemp_mb9 karma

My first advice is always to 'start small'. On our farm we started with seven acres; we then expanded to 17. The best advice is to not invest any more than you're willing to lose. For now a good, multi-peril crop insurance is not available but that will come with time. Stay attuned to your state's ag department page. Most states who have developed a permit program will have a separate hemp tab to follow.

jenSCy4 karma

What are your recommendations for someone looking to invest in the hemp industry?

mrhemp_mb2 karma

Never invest any more than you're willing to lose!

mrhemp_mb2 karma

Don't invest any more than you're willing to lose :-)

John628_294 karma

Do you you think a hemp company could become like a McDonald’s or Starbucks where we see them everywhere. And if so, which company do you think is best setup to become that in the future?

mrhemp_mb11 karma

We will have some large McDonald-like players long-term. But, I believe there is a growing and significant market for boutique products with a regenerative story and community support. Just like we have Bud Light and craft brewers, we'll have both big and small. My interest is in making sure the small producers have a swim lane to compete.

To your question who is best set-up there are some quality products and companies in the marketplace now - and lots of interest and investment sitting on the sidelines waiting for the 2019 rule-making to run its course.

The-Evil-Thing3 karma

Thoughts on states that are arresting and charging citizens with possession of marijuana when really they just have hemp flowers or Cbd oil?

mrhemp_mb2 karma

We still have a lot of kinks to work out - most of which will be resolved by the end of this year when USDA issues their final rules. 2019 is a complicated year given the overlap of the old law with the (not yet promulgated) new law. We're just going to have to grin-and-bear-it until then.

chefr893 karma

I recently read about CBG (not CBD). Are there other lesser-known oils/byproducts that we can expect to become much bigger than theya are now? Or is CBD 'the big one'?

mrhemp_mb6 karma

There is a lot of conflation between acronyms in this space. Even though we use 'CBD' as a general term in the industry (at least to date) that is short for 'Cannabidiol' - and CBD (like CBG and at least 100 other CBxx) is but one of the many sub-components of the oil. Full-spectrum oil contains all of those sub-components (and what you've likely consumed).

The_Gristle3 karma

Is the story from Family Guy (about a timber tycoon running a smear campaign against marijuana because hemp would have ruined his business) actually true?

mrhemp_mb6 karma

The roots of that story would have come from the (real) story of Hearst maligning the plant for a couple of reasons: he lost a vast swatch of his forest holding in the Mexican War so they weren't his favorite people - and he wanted to convert his forests into paper for his own newspaper empire and didn't want the competition of hemp paper. You know what they say, "never get into an argument with a guy who buys ink by the barrel".

fluffythunderpants3 karma

Oh man! Thank you for doing this AMA. I don't really have a question, it's more of a rave about how important this topic is to me. I just started going back to school to better my life. I've chosen a horticulture major with a minor in business in hopes to start a hemp farm to sell hemp for textiles. Any advice??

mrhemp_mb2 karma

Stay in school, get that diploma then call me!

hehasntreddit2 karma

What is the difference between hemp and cannabis and marijuana?

mrhemp_mb8 karma

Both are Cannabis sativa. They are legally defined globally; hemp is anything below 0.3% THC; anything above that level is considered marijuana.

PhromTheBench2 karma

What is the most surprising thing that Hemp can be used for? Something that us common folk would find quite interesting,

mrhemp_mb9 karma

The hemp plant does wonders in remediating polluted soils. They have been using it at Chernobyl since the nuclear meltdown to clean the soils; they are also using it now in Japan in the area around Fukushima. Domestically we could use it on EPA Brownfield sites and also a great way to clean up the buffer zones in our nation's waterways.

SirLuciousLeftFoot2 karma

I believe policy boils down to money (I know cynical). What changed economically for politicians that they finally decided to pass this bill?

mrhemp_mb9 karma

I'd say it was a combination of things; a perfect storm of sorts. The best argument was economics: we have been the largest consumer market in the world for hemp products, yet our farmers were the only farmers in the entire G7 barred from growing . Combine that with the current collapse in commodity markets as a result of the trade war with China and uncommon allies came to the fore. I would add, too, that opinions regarding cannabis and our failed War on Drugs has dramatically shifted the attitudes of all Americans.

OpenWaterRescue2 karma

Non-farmer here - how does hemp "enrich[] the soil while also removing toxins"?

Are there other crops farmers use for this purpose?

Also, have you tried that thing where you start Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon right when the MGM lion roars at the beginning of The Wizard of Oz?

mrhemp_mb2 karma

It has a very aggressive root system that both aerates the soil and busts hardpans, leaving soil with beautiful tilth for the following crop. It is a bio-accumulator with the ability to absorb heavy metals and contaminants from the soil. Mother Nature really did think of everything when she created this genus/species!

zoner4202 karma

Where can I buy hemp seeds and is it legal for me to grow it on my property?

mrhemp_mb4 karma

46 of the 50 states have now legalized; not all of them yet have a permit system in place. You will need a registration from your state department of agriculture (which will be good for one year in most cases). If you are in a state that doesn't yet have a permit system system in place you'll have to wait.

There are several outlets for hemp seeds. I would go with a reputable firm; I've heard horror stories regarding bad seed sold for very high prices. I'd be happy to share names with you by email. Keep in mind many of them are now sold out as we're just wrapping up the 2019 growing season.

Bk11822 karma

Will you ever run for political office?

mrhemp_mb2 karma

I'd like to at some point. I've been really focused on the policy side of things for nearly two decades now and I like working with politicians on both sides of the aisle.

_EventHorizon_1 karma

Do you think FDA will provide a clear path for CBD as a dietary supplement and if so in what timeframe? Do you think Congress will instead have to step in and amend the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act.

mrhemp_mb2 karma

I think the answer to your first question is yes, with a caveat: it may well take Congressional action. It could be as early as next year or as long as 5 years (if the FDA study mentioned in the House Ag Approps language is implemented).

Its_Ba1 karma

will and how will hemp help us fight climate change?

mrhemp_mb1 karma

Hemp absorbs roughly 3-4x more atmospheric CO2 per acre than a mature forest. It is literally a carbon-dioxide sponge. I'm really excited about this aspect of the plant.

alexkiddo011 karma

What are some hemp diseases that worry you, and how do you guard against their spread?

mrhemp_mb1 karma

Mites and mildew are problems. We had a corn borer problem with our crop two years ago; grasshoppers can be a real bear, too. Our options are limited given the plant has been considered a drug up to six months ago. Given the market is demanding naturally-grown and organic we have to be vigilant with our remedies.

VieFirionaVie1 karma

How does the nitrogen fixing rate of hemp compare to soybeans? More time required, or less?

mrhemp_mb2 karma

There are some studies being done at small scale this year by land grant universities to begin to answer these questions. The growing period for both plants are generally the same (90-ish days).

TSwanson961 karma

How can I get involved in or find a career in hemp cultivation? I am a recent mechanical engineering graduate with extensive background in aquaponics system design residing in Connecticut. I was recently laid off from my position as head design engineer for an aquaponics technology company and want to pursue a career in cannabis/hemp cultivation. I have expressed my interests to both cannabis and hemp cultivators in the local area but it just doesn't seem like there's much room for engineering/problem solving in this field currently. How do you recommend I get involved? Do you see the need for engineering in this field, specifically concerning cultivation technology and practices?

mrhemp_mb2 karma

We're just at the beginnings of this industry so the short answer to your question is unequivocally 'yes'. I just spoke at the Green Tech Conference in Newburgh, NY last week and aquaponics came up more than once. Additionally, states like Colorado and Kentucky have more mature systems in place given we're both planting our sixth crops so jobs are probably more available in places like that. I think an urban model that uses aquaponics holds a LOT of promise. You should pursue that. With the new Opportunity Zone tax law there are likely investors out there looking for projects like this to be placed in one of those zones.

Comic_Book_Cowboy1 karma

Do I need any kind of license to grow hemp? Or can I just source seeds and get right to it?

mrhemp_mb2 karma

You'll need a registration/permit from your state department of agriculture.

Legionnaire18561 karma

I am interested in growing hemp to sell to commercial buyers. Do you have any advice?

mrhemp_mb2 karma

Start with a quality product grown naturally/organically and you'll have lots of options. As the market matures we'll likely see clearing houses and auctions (much like the old tobacco model). Until then seek out operations that are already established or look for ways to create boutique products locally. I know some growers in the Pacific Northwest that started out in the farmers market space and grew rapidly from there.

Legionnaire18561 karma

Awesome. What about growing non-food grade hemp for industrial use?

mrhemp_mb2 karma

Long-term this may be the biggest market: Animal feed, advanced fuels, bio-lubricants, textiles, paper, bio-plastics. Very, very exciting. If you google 'meme hemp products' you'll find some fascination charts showing the wide range of uses.

Zartla1 karma

What do you think the hemp industry needs more of?

Do you have any reccomendations on resources for starting a hemp related business?

mrhemp_mb3 karma

We need passionate advocates and consumers; making the general public more aware of the availability (and legality) of our products, and consumers choosing the products on their grocers shelves (and demanding them if they aren't). Hemp hearts, hemp oil, hemp protein, full-spectrum tinctures. They are at the tip of this spear.

Amunet_Hidden_One1 karma

Does cannabis cure cancer? Is it beneficial in any way ?

Thank you.

mrhemp_mb4 karma

There are a lot of testimonials regarding the efficacy of cannabis oil. We aren't allowed to make medical claims but any random internet search will find stories of how the plant has benefited individuals. Our bodies have an endocannabinoid system which needs to be fed - and hemp-derived products are the best way to do that.

Amunet_Hidden_One1 karma

Interesting. Still a shame that there are no official Gov. Researches

mrhemp_mb2 karma

It is a tragedy. All because someone decided it was a 'drug' 50 years ago.

CaptainGreezy1 karma

the ability to draw carbon out of the atmosphere at rates that can exceed general mature forests.

Could you elaborate on that please? Is the idea that durable hemp products can serve as a carbon sequestration sink? I've never heard of this angle, but if it's realistic, then it's very exciting. How many hemp sweaters or sweater-equivalent-products would need to be produced annually to make a measurable impact?


I imagine that's where the real sink would be? Plastics probably scale up better than sweaters. Also probably longer-term form of sequestration.

mrhemp_mb2 karma

Yes, the reason the hemp fiber creates such strong fiber is in fact a direct correlation to the amount of CO2 it is absorbing. Yes, we can create significant carbon sinks with hemp fields. The world textile market is something north of $750 billion annually - a great opportunity to rebuild a sustainable fiber industry in the US by capturing just a small portion of that market.

mjgreen29881 karma

I frel like hemp is the placebo side of marijuana. Any research to the physical properties of the plant or the human body after ingestion yet?

mrhemp_mb2 karma

None that I'm aware of - but now that it's descheduled those kinds of studies can begin.

whiteprussian1 karma

Do you use hemp extracts yourself? What's your favorite company?

mrhemp_mb2 karma

I do. For me I use it daily and find it is very helpful with my sleep patterns. I get the opportunity to try several brands given my interaction with the broader community. This isn't an endorsement of these companies but I like CVSciences (green and gold products), Bluebird, Papa & Barkely and CW Botanicals. I've had great experiences with all of them. This fall we'll be launching a line of high-quality products through First Crop under the brand 'Well Healed'. Our group of small farmers growing regeneratively have their 'first crop' in the ground right now!

mohammadmehdyk1230 karma

What nutes should i use?

mrhemp_mb1 karma

I'm a farm boy from eastern Colorado. You're going to have to define nute for me Mohammed!!



mrhemp_mb1 karma

There is a consortium of land grant universities (19) working on this in 2019. I have seen some preliminary data but there will be more comprehensive reporting this fall. Stay tuned.

jkhitchens0 karma

Can I bring a cbd vape onto an airplane?

jollybrick-4 karma

How much do you smell like patchouli?

mrhemp_mb2 karma

I shower everyday with Dr. Bronners Peppermint soap so.... :-)